Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Diceratops becomes Diceratus

In the newest issue of the Journal of Paleontology* Octavio Mateus clears up the preoccupation of the ceratopsians names Diceratops (Lull, 1905; right) and Microceratops (Bohlin, 1953).

the ceratopsian (Lull, 1905) is preoccupied by the Hymenoptera insects (one of the larger orders of insects, comprising the sawflies, wasp, bees and ants; Foerster, 1868). He changes the genus of the ceratopsian Diceratops to Diceratus (Greek di  ‘‘two,’’ Greek ceratos ‘‘horned’’).

Microceratops the ceratopsian (Bohlin, 1953) is the junior homonym of the ichneumon wasp from Madagascar (Seyrig, 1952). This genus has been renamed Microceratus (Greek micro  ‘‘small,’’ Greek ceratos ‘‘horned’’).

Be sure to check out Octavio's entire paper!

* Mateus, Octavio. 2008. Two ornithischian dinosaurs renamed: Microceratops Bohlin 1953 and Diceratops Lull 1905. Journal of Paleontology 82(2): 423.


Bohlin, B. 1953. Fossil reptiles from Mongolia and Kansu. In Sino-Swedish Expedition Publications, 37:1–113.

Foerster, A. 1868. Synopsis der Familien und Gattungen der Ichneumonen. Verhandlungen des Naturhistorischen Vereins der Preussischen Rheinlande und Westfalens, 25:135–221.

Lull, R. 1905. Restoration of the horned dinosaur Diceratops. American Journal of Science, 20:420–422.

Seyrig, A. 1952. Les Ichneumonides de Madagascar. IV Ichneumonidae Cryptinae. Me´moires de l’Acade´mie Malgache, 19:1–213.

Shame on you Mr. Silberling, shame on you!

The other day I wrote that I probably did not need to comment on Norman Silberling's letter. I was wrong. His words are poison, derogatory to younger scientist, and entirely uncalled for. So, Mr. Silberling, in response to your words:

You, Mr. Silberling, have done more to hurt the process of getting down to the bottom of what has really happened than you have helped. You should be ashamed of yourself for degrading younger members of our profession because they may not yet be as gainfully employed as you are! I am offended by your remarks and I think you own a public apology to all the young professionals in both geology and paleontology for your cruel words! I am sure you probably think I am just another young "doe" with a grudge against Dr. Lucas and company. You would be wrong and quick to notice that I have no personal interest invested in this case, Dr. Lucas, his associates on the New Mexico side, or Mr. Martz, Mr. Parker, or their associates. I am just another young paleontologist who is quickly becoming jaded from attitudes like yours towards the younger crowd.

I only want what is right. To quote Dr. Jason Anderson, who has said it best, I want "an open, transparent, and impartial process to review the allegations." I have never pointed the finger in either direction and declared anyone's innocence or guilt. I just want to see the truth come out and to make sure that this sort of issue would 1) never be an issue again and 2) that a young professional would never have to watch their back in fear of retaliation for speaking up or for fear of loosing their research! I do not believe that is too much to ask.

If there is not another review done that is impartial, I for one an not going to be surprised when, come March 3, we find out that the review panel has exonerated Dr. Lucas of all wrong doing. Whether it is true or not. Mr. Silberling already exonerated him in his letter. It would not be a huge surprise when this is the official result.

If you like the shirts, you can find them here. All shirts are sold at cost, and I am not making a single dime off of them. Only trying to make a point.

Don't forget to watch "The Four-Winged Dinosaur" tonight on NOVA and Bucky Gates on the O'Reilly Factor tonight at 6pm on Fox News (Did dinosaurs die because of Global Warming?)

Monday, February 25, 2008

The Four-Winged Dinosaur

Tomorrow evening (at least here, check your local listings), NOVA debuts a new show all about Microraptor and its ability to use its wings. I am looking forward to this show! Last week they had a great episode about Ape communication (Ape Genius) that just blew me away. If you get a chance, be sure to check out that episode as well.

From the NOVA press release:
"In 2002, the discovery of a beautiful and bizarre fossil astonished scientists and reignited the debate over the origin of flight. With four wings and superbly preserved feathers, the creature was like nothing paleontologists had ever seen before. Now, NOVA travels to the Chinese stone quarry where the fossil was discovered—a famed dinosaur treasure-trove—and teams up with the world’s leading figures in paleontology, biomechanics, aerodynamics, animation, and scientific reconstruction to perform an unorthodox experiment: a wind tunnel flight test of a scientific replica of the ancient oddity. Find out whether this 130 million-year-old relic takes flight on The Four-Winged Dinosaur, premiering Tuesday, February 26 (tomorrow) at 8pm ET/PT on PBS (check local listings)."

Here is a short clip you can watch for a "Behind the Scenes" glimpse. Looks like they made some pretty cool puppets!

"How many scientists does it take to make a flying dinosaur? Go behind the scenes of NOVA's "The Four-Winged Dinosaur" and see how scientific reconstructors created a model Microraptor--an exotic feathered dinosaur."

Also keep an eye out for "Bone Diggers" on Tuesday, March 25 (8pm). I have not yet seen this episode, but it appears that it is all about Australian cave paleontology! "NOVA takes viewers to the stark Australian outback in search of the elusive bones of one of the world's most bizarre prehistoric creatures—a giant predatory marsupial called Thylacoleo. Australia's leading paleontologists endure extreme weather, treacherous drops into a deep cavern, and the threat of fossil poachers as they launch a daring expedition to find the rare megabeast." Giant predatory marsupials! Count me in!

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Burpee Museum's 10th annual PaleoFest

And now for some happy, more light hearted news:

If you are not planning to already, and you are in the area, you should come to the 10th annual PaleoFest at the Burpee Museum of Natural History this coming weekend (March 1st and 2nd) in Rockford, Illinois!

The exciting talks include this cute guy above, Homer, from the first ever described
Triceratops bonebed (far more interesting and cuter than the museums other attraction, Jane)! Found in 2005, Homer and two others are preserved at this site and are proving to be an interesting taphonomic puzzle. This is the subject of Josh Matthews masters thesis and he will be discussing it on Sunday at 5:30. Homers skull will be revealed to the world Saturday night (6-8 pm) at the CSI Dinner and Lecture by Dr. Jim Kirkland.

Another interesting talk will be given by this cute guy to your right (the far right, not the one in green, the one in the black vest). Thats right, none other than my wonderful fiancé, Dr. John Foster, will be speaking on the Mygatt-Moore Bonebed Sunday at 11:30 am. Mygatt-Moore is the Morrison Formation (Jurassic aged) quarry I spent all summer working this past summer in Rabbit Valley of western Colorado. This site was discovered in 1981 and has been worked every summer since 1984. It has yielded the first Jurassic ankylosaurian dinosaur found in North America, Mymoorapelta. Other dinosaurs known from the site include Allosaurus, Camarasaurus, Apatosaurus, and Diplodocus. John will be talking about the taphonomy of the site, a project we started working on this past summer and preliminarily reported on at GSA this past year. I will leave the details to John, so I hope you can come and hear his talk (be sure to find me and say hello also!)!

Other talks include:

Saturday, 10:00 am • Theropods from Southern China
Phillip Currie PhD., University of Alberta

Saturday, 11:30 am • Fossil Plants and Spores of the Dinosaur Park Formation
Eva Koppelhus, PhD., University of Alberta

Saturday, 1:00 pm • Building a BIGGER Bronto
Matthew Bonnan, PhD., Western Illinios University

Saturday, 2:30 pm • Raptors: Fangs, Feathers and Footprints
Peter Makovicky, PhD., Field Museum - Chicago

Saturday, 4:00 pm • The Burgess Shale Revisited
Jean-Bernard Caron, PhD., Royal Ontario Museum

Sunday, 10:00 am • Assessing Dinosaur Diversity
John "Jack" Horner. PhD., Museum of the Rockies

Sunday, 11:30 am • The Mygatt-Moore Quarry, a bonebed from western Colorado
John Foster, PhD., Museum of Western Colorado

Sunday, 1:00 pm • Reptiles and Amphibians from a unique early Permian site
Robert Reisz, Ph.D. University of Toronto

Sunday, 2:30 pm • Giant Carchaodontosaurids of Argentina
Phillip Currie, PhD., University of Alberta

Sunday, 4:00 pm • Dragons of the Air
Chris Bennett, PhD., Fort Hayes State University

Sunday, 5:30 pm • Homer and the Gang
Josh Matthews, Northern Illinois University
Sunday, 5:30 pm • Burpee's Summer Vacation
Scott Williams , Burpee Museum Collections/Exhibits Manager

Please visit the PaleoFest website for all of the details! Hope to see you there!

Saturday, February 23, 2008

the latest in the world of Paleo Controversey

Rather than making two separate post, I'll just include both here. Aetogate and DINO are in the news again today. Its sad when there are two controversies taking place at the same time. Sometimes the results and responses (or lack there of!) are even more depressing.

The Albuquerque Journal reports "Ethics Panelist Calls Museum Flap Baseless" (you have to watch a short commercial to read the article) after the State Cultural Affairs chief Stuart Ashman called for a review of the charges brought against Lucas and company. However, the invited two "outside guest experts" to help with the new inquiry were not impartial. Norman Silberling and New Mexico geologist Orin Anderson were asked to aid in the inquiry. However, "A scholarly library index lists Anderson and Lucas as coauthors of 65 research papers. Silberling and Lucas coauthored five papers. Lucas has dedicated books to both Silberling and Anderson, and, in his Feb. 18 letter (open access .PDF), Silberling described himself as "a professional friend and admirer of Lucas." I have to ask, why did Siberling write a letter three days before the review panel's meeting to state officials declaring Lucas' innocence when he was asked to help with the review? Does that not show his partiality?? Not to mention that the entire tone of his letter is rude, accusatory, and derogatory to young paleontologist and very unprofessional*. I only hope that Stuart Ashman and other state officials will realize the blunder that including these two partial parties has caused and will conduct a open, and impartial review on the matter.

"It’s difficult to believe that Parker and/or Martz or their associates didn’t prime Naish to initiate his accusatory blog site knowing that all sorts of slanderous, unsubstantiated bile would result. From this, it’s apparent that an interconnected group of mainly young, un or under -employed workers (including both Parker and Martz) has for whatever reasons a strong grudge against Lucas and the NMMNH&S. But that’s just the way it is."

My thoughts on the comment in bold above probably does not need words.

**Update** Check out the other latest responses to this story:
Aetogate, continued: Norman Silberling shoots his mouth off
Political cartoon by John Trever for
from the Albuquerque Journal (not sure how I missed this):
Adventures in Ethics and Science -How committed are paleontologists to objectivity (in questions of ethical conduct)?
Tetrapod Zoology - an interesting post on traumatic anal intercourse with a pig (just a curious post, it has nothing to do with Aetogate, he assures me).


David Nimkin, The Southwest Director for the National Parks Connservation Association seems to have joined the "pro-job-cuts" bandwagon for DINO. Kurt Repanshek for National Parks Traveler recently contacted the NPCA for a comment regarding these changes in the park and was startled at what he was hearing from Nimkin: “I really am of the opinion that they’re doing a fine job in the face of real significant financial constraints," he said. "I’ve gotten messages saying she (Superintendent Risser) ought to be fired, change the leadership there. On the contrary, I really want to complement their staff for really finding ways to serve all the needs they have, and that’s not always a popular thing.” I know that I am not personally calling for Ms. Risser to be fired or done away with. Quite the contrary. I know these problem go higher than her, reaching into the regional directors office, as the CORE operations changes are is his mission. I only ask her to stand up and do what is right and say 'no' to these changes. I also ask for the park service director to investigate these changes and, if needed, find the additional funds to keep these jobs in place. They are jobs that are very needed.

Mr. Repanshek then contacted park paleontologist Dan Chure for his opinion, which, if you have been keeping up with this story, is not surprising. Dan supports the changes. Odd, since he did not support them in 2002/3. In the end it appears the Mr. Repanshek has been swayed to their side: "Is this a perfect solution? Probably not in the eyes of those who believe the Park Service has a responsibility to conduct a robust, in-house science mission. But when it comes to today's fiscal realities, this just might be the best the agency can do."

Read the entire article here.


Friday, February 22, 2008

Geotimes: Paleontology in the parks

Take a look at this Geotimes article I found today (excerpts below):

".....park administrators announced that they would be cutting one preparator position, now held by paleontologist Scott Madsen, over the next year. Additionally, they changed the role of the chief paleontology position, now held by Dan Chure, from a research-oriented position to more of a management position. At such time as Chure decides to leave, his position will become a “physical resources program specialist” — a broader position Dinosaur will fill with a vertebrate paleontologist. About a year before, another paleontological preparator, Ann Elder, became a curator for all collections at Dinosaur. Bottom line: where there once were three paleontology positions, there soon will be only one."

“In the end, there won’t be anyone who is focusing on the main resource for which the park was established,” Chure says. When... announced the new management plan to the park’s staff, Chure recalls, someone asked him directly whether these changes meant there would no longer be a paleontological program at the park. “And his direct answer was, ‘That’s right. There won’t be.’”......

"David Shaver, chief of the Geologic Resources Division for the National Park Service, says that since 1996, when his division was created, the Service has been pushing to bring more science into decision making. The news coming out of Dinosaur is troubling, he says. “We ought to be moving toward more emphasis on science in resource management and not less. If we have to cut, we shouldn’t cut from science.”

But, Shaver says, finding adequate financial resources is a serious challenge. All involved agree on the multi-faceted role paleontologists ought to play in the Park Service in facilitating scientific research, but opinions differ on how best to accomplish that goal on a limited budget. If nothing else, he says, the situation at Dinosaur “has raised the issue with upper management of the Park Service’s role related to research.” Shaver is hopeful that discussions currently underway will effect positive change."..........

Oddly enough this article was written in 2003! From the wording you would think it could have been written this week! However, this article was written in response to the last time park management tried to do away with the paleontology positions. All of it other than the bolded comment from Dan Chure (see above), who currently supports the changes. It is not his job on the line either.

Battle of the letters to the editor

Aetogate is back in the news. Letters to the editor are flying in both directions. Laurence H. Lattman (on the New Mexico Museum Board's executive committee) and Robert Sullivan (friend of Lucas, curator in PA State Museum, and reviewer on the paper in question) say Lucas is wrongly accused, Kevin Padian points out the odd point of view that Sullivan takes in his letter, and Taylor points out "If Lattman wants to persuade anyone, he will have to show that he is correct in the face of all the evidence, not just assert it." Check them out here on Mike Taylors page.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Clinton, McCain, Obama Answer Questions on National Parks

Where do the top three presidential candidates stand on the National Park Centennial Challenge? If omission is any indication, only one supports it.

Only Republican John McCain mentioned the challenge by name in answer to a question the National Parks Conservation Association posed to the candidates on park funding. The two Democrats in the contest, Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, replied that they believe the National Park Service needs better funding, but didn't specifically refer to the Centennial Challenge as a way to get there.

Should we be surprised or disappointed? Probably not. After all, would you really expect two Democrats to endorse a Republican initiative during the heat of a presidential campaign? But in answering three questions posed by NPCA, the candidates at least cracked the door a bit on their thoughts about the national park system.

Read their answers...

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Switching Gears w/ Junior

I just wanted to let everyone know that John is going to have his own radio show on the local public radio station in Grand Junction! His first show is tonight (Wednesday night, February 20) at 9-12pm Mountain time. The show is called 'Switching Gears w/ Junior'
You can check it out (streaming) on their website at http://kafmradio.org/

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

How can I stand up to misbehavior in my field?

This is a serious question that is addressed over on the Adventures in Ethics and Science blog. "what's a junior person to do about the misconduct of senior people in the field when the other senior people seem more inclined to circle the wagons than to do anything about the people who are misbehaving?" Go take a look....

My ring!!

John came for a visit this past weekend and gave me a big surprise - my engagement ring! I hate to brag, but I wanted to share it with everyone. Its beautiful! He did a great job of picking it out! The stone is a Montana Sapphire, and could not be more perfect in color! I love it (and him)!!! I just wanted to share some of the happy news!

Monday, February 18, 2008

Where Do the Presidential Candidates Stand on America's National Parks?

I do not usually dabble in politics, but I found this article from National Park Traveler interesting enough that I wanted to share it here with those of you who might be interested. I know our country already has a pretty full plate of issues that need dealt with, but if we do not start investing more in our National Parks, we may eventually not have anything left! Feel free to read the entire article here. Below is an excerpt.

Where do America's national parks figure in the minds of the presidential candidates? It's a good question, but one that so far hasn't elicited much more than a sound bite.

Should we be surprised? Probably not. In the overall mix of domestic and global issues -- energy independence, climate change, war and peace, the economy, health and welfare, genocide, constitutional rights -- the national parks are easily overlooked.....

.....So I turned to the League of Conservation Voters, which has a website dedicated to where the various candidates stand on environmental issues. It's somewhat illuminating in general, but not terribly specific on national park issues.

In fact, the league asked only one specific question regarding the parks, and it was a softball:

From Acadia to Yosemite, America's 390 national parks protect and interpret some of the nation's most treasured natural and cultural resources. Unfortunately, the National Park System has an annual operating deficit in excess of $800 million, a land acquisition shortfall of $1.9 billion, and a multi-billion dollar maintenance backlog. The National Park Service will celebrate its centennial in 2016, less than ten years from now, and the American people are united around the idea of fully addressing the needs of the National Park System in time to celebrate the Centennial.

Do you support reinvesting in our national parks through a sustained effort over the next ten years to establish reliable sources of funding and eliminate the National Park Service funding shortfall?

And here's how they responded:

Senator Clinton: "Our National Parks are an incredible treasure, visited by millions every year. I have supported increased funding for our National Parks in the Senate and will continue to do so as President. As First Lady, I served as Honorary Chair of Save America’s Treasures, which worked to preserve America’s historic sites in partnership with the National Park Service."

Senator Obama: "Yes."

Senator McCain: "Yes. I have established a strong and consistent record in the senate for fully funding our national parks. I was the lead sponsor for the National Parks Centennial Act, which would have eliminated the annual operating deficit for the parks. Recently, the Administration, House and Senate passed budget proposing to increase park budgets by $200 million each year to address operating deficits. I support these objectives, but fully protecting, restoring and enjoying our national parks requires more than just additional funding. We need to give the park service the guiding policies that will ensure their protection and the enjoyment of the visiting public. As president, I will continue to champion laws and initiatives that improve air quality, reduce climate change impacts, enhance wildlife populations, and improve education in the parks. By the park system's centennial, and as I expect to be completing my second term as president, we will have a park system that showcases the best educational, environmental and civic engagement programs in the world. We should expect and accept nothing less for our national parks."

Welcome Beelzebufo!

Now this is a pretty cool find! Beelzebufo - the devil frog!

From the NSF Press release (08-025):

Scientists Discover "Giant Fossil Frog from Hell"

Evidence Suggests Late Cretaceous Period South America-Madagascar Link

February 18, 2008

A team of researchers, led by Stony Brook University paleontologist David Krause, has discovered the remains in Madagascar of what may be the largest frog ever to exist.

The 16-inch, 10-pound ancient frog, scientifically named Beelzebufo, or devil frog, links a group of frogs that lived 65 to 70 million years ago with frogs living today in South America.

Discovery of the voracious predatory fossil frog - reported on-line this week in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) - is significant in that it may provide direct evidence of a one-time land connection between Madagascar, the largest island off Africa's southeast coast, and South America.

To identify Beelzebufo and determine its relationship to other frogs, Krause collaborated with fossil frog experts Susan Evans, lead author of the PNAS article, and Marc Jones of the University College London. The authors concluded that the new frog represents the first known occurrence of a fossil group in Madagascar with living representatives in South America.

"Beelzebufo appears to be a very close relative of a group of South American frogs known as ‘ceratophyrines,' or ‘pac-man' frogs, because of their immense mouths," said Krause, whose research was funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF). The ceratophryines are known to camouflage themselves in their surroundings, then ambush predators.

"The finding presents a real puzzle biogeographically, particularly because of the poor fossil record of frogs on southern continents," said Krause. "We're asking ourselves, ‘What's a ‘South American' frog doing half-way around the world, in Madagascar?'"

He said that because frogs "are not adept at dispersal across marine barriers, and since the few fossil frogs that are known from the Late Cretaceous in Africa are unrelated to Beelzebufo, one possibility is that there was a land connection between South America and Madagascar during that period."

Some geoscientists have suggested a lingering physical link between South America and Madagascar during the Late Cretaceous Period--a link involving Antarctica. Antarctica in the Late Cretaceous was much warmer than it is today.

"The occurrence of this frog in Madagascar and its relatives' existence in South America provides strong evidence that the supercontinent Gondwana 'disassembled' during the latest part of the Cretaceous," said Richard Lane, program director in NSF's Division of Earth Sciences.

Krause and colleagues have hypothesized this connection based on previous discoveries of sauropod and theropod dinosaurs, crocodiles and mammals in Madagascar that were very closely related to forms in South America.

Beelzebufo is one of the largest frogs on record and was perhaps the largest frog ever to exist. The size and robustness of its bones and its relatedness to the rotund South American forms indicates it was also probably the heaviest frog to exist.

The size, girth, appearance, and predatory nature of the frog prompted its discoverers to call it the "armored frog from hell." They derived the genus name from the Greek word for devil (Beelzebub) and the Latin word for toad (bufo). The species name, ampinga, means "shield."

The largest living frog today is the goliath frog of West Africa, which attains lengths of 12.5 inches and weights of 7.2 pounds. The largest frog alive on Madagascar today, at just over four inches long, "would have been a nice hors d'oeuvre for Beelzebufo," Krause said.

Since the discovery of the first bones found in northwestern Madagascar in 1993, Krause and his team have gathered some 75 fossil fragments of Beelzebufo. Through the accumulation of these fossils, the team has been able to reconstruct the frog's skeleton, including nearly the entire skull.

Not only was the frog huge, it was powerful in design, had a protective shield, an extremely wide mouth and powerful jaws. These features made Beelzebufo capable of killing lizards and other small vertebrates, perhaps even hatchling dinosaurs.

The research was also funded by the National Geographic Society.


CNN SciTech Blog Link

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Dinosaur National Monument Superintendent Favors Law Enforcement, Maintenance, Interpretation Over Paleontology

Check out this great article by Kurt Repanshek over on National Parks Traveler; it makes many VERY good points regarding the DINO issues (see my other blog post below).

"Independent researchers long have worked in the park system, and many in collaboration with Park Service scientists. Nevertheless, when a park dismantles its science staff and outsources its curatorial responsibilities, isn't it cutting at the core of its mission?"

Be sure to check out Kurt's first article also, Dinosaur National Monument Cutting Paleontology Staff.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Paleo Valentines for your Valentine

Happy Valentines day to you all!

My sister actually found these! Thanks!

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Is Dinosaur National Monument's staff going the way of its namesakes?

By Brandon Loomis
The Salt Lake Tribune

Dinosaur National Monument still has the namesake fossils, but the park in Utah and Colorado is cutting its caretaking staff to the bone.

Budget cuts led the park to announce last week that it will shave two of three paleontologists from the rolls. It's the latest blow to a program that already had to close its most popular attraction, an embankment of exposed dinosaur fossils inside a condemned building.

Budgetary times are tough, and visitation is down 30 percent. Some paleontologists worry that the cuts will erode a core mission and possibly endanger some of the world's most famous bones.
"They're cutting out the heart of the paleo program," said Margaret Imhof, a private contracting paleontologist in Vernal........

Read entire article (link)

Velafrons coahuilensis

New dinosaur from Mexico
offers insights into ancient life on West America

SALT LAKE CITY — A new species of dinosaur unearthed in Mexico is giving scientists fresh insights into the ancient history of western North America, according to an international research team led by scientists from the Utah Museum of Natural History at the University of Utah.

“To date, the dinosaur record from Mexico has been sparse,” said Terry Gates, a paleontologist with the Utah Museum of Natural History, Utah’s designated natural history museum.

The new creature — aptly dubbed Velafrons coahuilensis — was a massive plant-eater belonging to a group of duck-billed dinosaurs, or hadrosaurs. Velafrons is a combination of Latin and Spanish meaning “sailed forehead,” in reference to the large sail-like crest that grew atop the dinosaur’s head. The second part of the name honors the state of Coahuila in north-central Mexico, where the specimen was found.

Utah Museum of Natural History paleontologists teamed up with researchers from the Utah Geological Survey; Coordinacion de Paleontologia, Secretaria de Educacion y Cultura de Coahuila the Museo del Desierto, in Saltillo, Coahuila, Mexico; and the Royal Tyrrell Museum, in Drumheller, Alberta, Canada, to excavate and study the 72-million-year-old specimen. The species was announced in the December edition of the Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology.

Mexico’s arid climate poses challenges for dinosaur hunters, Gates explained. With little rainfall, there is minimal erosion, which means fewer fossils ever see daylight. Yet the fossils emerging from Coahuila turn out to be a vital part of the North American story for the latter part of the Age of Dinosaurs. .....

Read more here (Press Release)
More pictures here

The Crew:

Tuesday, February 5, 2008


Here is a nice little video on Eotriceratops* put out by the Royal Tyrrell Museum:

(old news, but here is the Press release)
*Wu, X-C., Brinkman, D.B., Eberth, D.A., and Braman, D.R. (2007). "A new ceratopsid dinosaur (Ornithischia) from the uppermost Horseshoe Canyon Formation (upper Maastrichtian), Alberta, Canada." Canadian Journal of Earth Science, 44(9): 1243-1265.


Yesterday's just a memory, tomorrow is never what it's supposed to be. - Bob Dylan

Yesterdays are over my shoulder, So I can't look back for too long. There's just too much to see waiting in front of me, and I know that I just can't go wrong... - Jimmy Buffett

Almost everything you do will seem insignificant, but it is important that you do it. - Mahatma Gandhi

Remember that not getting what you want is sometimes a wonderful stroke of luck. -the Dalai Lama

Try to realize it's all within yourself no one else can make you change, and to see you're only very small and life flows on within you and without you. - George Harrison

Monday, February 4, 2008

United makes yet another mistake

United Airlines has decided to start charging $25 for more than one checked bag (unless you fly 25,000 a year). These airlines forget that they are not the only ones. I really truly dislike flying United. Every flight I have had with them over the past two years has had at least one leg that is always a disaster. It has been nothing but trouble. With gas prices like they are I guess they feel like they can pressure us into these decisions. They have lost me as a customer. I'll take another airline or drive (or just not go). Thanks for encouraging me to find other alternatives United Airlines!


Sunday, February 3, 2008

Saturday, February 2, 2008

A personal letter to Punxsutawney Phil

Punxsutawney Phil, I really dislike you right now. Is it to much to ask that you stop being a chicken and just let Spring come early, for once! Thanks Phil. Thanks for ruining my day.

Phil Says Six More Weeks of Winter!

Phil's official forecast as read 2/2/08 at sunrise at Gobbler's Knob:

Here Ye! Here Ye! Here Ye!

On Gobbler's Knob on this fabolous Groundhog Day, February 2nd, 2008
Punxsutawney Phil, the Seer of Seers, Prognosticator of all Prognosticators, Rose to the call of President Bill Cooper and greeted his handlers, Ben Hughes and John Griffiths.

After casting a weathered eye toward thousands of his faithful followers,
Phil consulted with President Cooper and directed him to the appropriate scroll, which proclaimed:

"As I look around me, a bright sky I see, and a shadow beside me.
Six more weeks of winter it will be!"

Punxsutawney Phil official site.

Friday, February 1, 2008

Asking for answers in New Mexico

The buzz around the Nature article (see my last post) appears to still be going strong. Andy makes some good points surrounding the issues of open access dissertations and how we need to be more aware of what is taking place in our community. Julia also brings up points that one would think would be common practice when visiting other collections, but obviously are not used by all. Christopher Taylor points out the ICZN guidelines surrounding the ethics that are in question. Janet D. Stemwedel dissects a particularly disturbing email that was posted on the vert paleo list. There are many other good post included in Mike Taylors list of Blogs to visit that also make good points. You might take the time to read a few of them.

I would also like to point out that while I know all of the people involved (with the exception of the Polish folks), I am 1) not accusing or pointing fingers at anyone, only trying to point out an interesting ethics question that would have needed address eventually regardless, and 2) just promote better communication between people in our field. We need to be able to trust our colleagues and not promote a community of fear, especially for the safety of your research and/or career. If wrong doing has occurred, I hope the proper action will be taken, and not just swept under the carpet with a slap on the wrist. If it is found that no wrong was done, I hope we can all be more cautious and aware that these things *could* possibly happen.